Fighters rejoice! The next great fighting game is here and Nathan Smith has shared his thoughts.
Like many people of my vintage, I spent my time in dark arcades huddled around a single screen, watching the next self proclaimed pro work the joystick and either mash buttons or expertly execute combos, (sometimes you couldn’t tell the difference) and constantly checking to see if our coin had moved in the queue.
The original Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter vs Marvel were the standard that every other game had to at least match in order to spend more than a few hours in my gaming rotation. The Injustice series is good in several aspects but there have been very few fighting games that have been able to capture the mysticism of the original games.
This game has done that and if you’re a fighting game fan, you need to pick up this game (after reading the rest of this of course).
Dragonball FighterZ (“DBFZ“) is an Arc Systems Works and Bandai Namco collaboration that borrows some excellent game design features from the games above, to create something truly unique and special.
DBFZ utilises a team system similar to that of the Street Fighter vs Marvel, where you select three characters to fight with and each can be switched out easily or combined to create powerful attacks. Mastering this system can take a while but it is definitely worth putting in the time to get this technique down to a fine art. You’ll soon be pulling off 30, 40, 80 hit combos by seamlessly rotating and combining your team’s strengths. In addition, you have a Ki and super meter that provides an additional power when charged. Shenron also makes a special appearance throughout the fight, granting a wish to the player if you are able to complete a series of moves and combos, which is a nice way to include the Dragonballs whilst promoting the mastering of fighting moves.
Now the art design of the game is just, wow. There are no other words that accurately describe how great this game looks. Each of the characters are detailed beautifully with their every movement fluid and crisp; every punch, kick, air dash, jump, spinning kick and devastating combo are captured in such high quality detail it will leave you smiling from ear to ear. The stage art is just as good with each level really coming to life, making this 2D fighter look surprisingly 3D in some parts.
Game controls are easy to pick up with the controller’s four buttons assigned a low/medium punch or kick. The combinations are just as easy to figure out, and by simply trying out a number of button pushes, you’ll be on your way to hitting those high number combos. The game speed is quite fast so be quick to attack or defend and use your characters speed to your advantage.
The story mode is great, albeit a little strange. You find yourself working your way through the world challenging clones of some of the strongest fighters in the universe on your way to the board Boss. I say board as you have move around a ‘checkerboard’ with a set number of moves you can use to make your way to each fight. Each ‘step’ across the board you encounter a clone of one the series main characters, who don’t pose much of a threat. You progress through each of the clones until you end up at the boss fight, and depending on the number of moves you had used, the stronger the board boss becomes, although this isn’t really a problem anyway since most of early game bosses destroyed fairly easily. It is a great time to practice your combinations too.
The story is really good and you end up meeting, fighting and destroying a number of familiar characters as you progress through each of the story lines on your way to the final boss (who is tough and provides a nice emotional element too).
Tip – If you’re a fan of the DBZ series and remember some of the iconic battles, use the characters who were involved in that fight.
The Online mode is where this game really shines. Going up against some of the best DBFZ fighters from around the world is a master stroke. Throwing in a ranking system is icing on the cake. There is no challenge quite like another human being and you will be pleasantly surprised at how well this system has been implemented. The speed and accuracy of some online players is something to behold, and the challenge to knock the top players off their pedestal should provide this game with the opportunity to become the next great long term fighting game.